Communication is the cornerstone for the success of any venture. Preceding blog discussed about the importance of Communication in Project Management, and this post will draw your attention to the different forms of communication. Communication put simply is sending or receiving information. Be it person to person [one-on-one] or with multiple contact [one with many] or within contacts [many to many], the bottom line is effective and efficient communication will prove decisive in the success of business venture. Timely call and timely action underscores the indispensible need for communication. The insights from PMI’s Pulse of the Profession™ In-Depth Report: The Essential Role of Communications are interesting in its findings. “Highly effective communicators are also more likely to deliver projects on time (71 percent versus 37 percent) and within budget (76 percent versus 48 percent).” The methods and means to communicate are as important as communication itself. It’s a difficult fact to digest that despite understanding the significance of communication at the required hour, there is still a struggle to keep concerned informed of the critical details and updates. To get everyone associated with the project on the same page, it is necessary to speak the language of business. Communication is often glorified as a dialogue or discussion between figure heads or ‘key’ personnel, especially decision makers, sponsors or business owner. The last person is counted whose views, opinions, suggestions and response matters.
Communication is a two-way street when “we reach out by speaking and listening”.
Communication is of two types in the context of business: internal and external.
Be it internal or external, communication works mainly on the following methodologies:
It’s the spoken word, which can be face-to-face, particularly individual to individual (one on one), or groups (conferencing) or one to many (interviews, stakeholder meet or client meeting). Verbal communication these days are empowered by employing media like phones (direct conversation) or radio and television (passive listeners). Some stakeholders meetings in the Asian-pacific region are known to be held in football stadiums. Verbal communication is the traditional form and cuts out the clutter or confusion. Unless recorded, which can have legal implications, the verbal exchange can at best be captured as minutes or notes, which can be less accurate.
Anything in the written format that include letters, memos, bulletins board, circulars, notice, posters, articles, magazines, and books. This method is chosen when communication is intended to reach multiple persons who are at a distance that voice can’t reach or in a different location. Before the advent of technology, this was considered as the predominant method of communication. For authenticity and authority, written format can best serve the purpose like offer letter, or user manual or business related correspondence like agreements, invoice and other legal documents. Also, records in writing serve as proof or testimony and in legal parlance as evidence too. The downside is the delay in delivery and failure in acknowledgement can leave the fate of the correspondence in hanging; too much of paperwork and hence housekeeping could be cumbersome and the adverse impact to nature by felling trees to make papers.
Technology has revolutionized communication. Electronic Communication includes email, sms, social media, websites (enquiry and feedback sections), web conferencing, and online chats. Pen and paper are fad, other than signature or the occasional notes. With gadgets governing the order of the day, it’s electronic all the way because of the access, use, reach, convenience, comfort and connectivity. The communication can be complete with a click of a mouse. E-mail is the most preferred form of communication, especially in the written format. Technology enabling voice, it will not be necessary to type or key words, as the system will intelligent to input the words from voice software technology. Web conferencing is where remotely located person or people can connect either face-to-face meeting take place on a secure connection. Web conferencing can be leveraged for instructor-led online training and alternatively a recorded session can become the course content for self-paced or e-Learning for training, lectures, presentations, workshops and the like. Social media sites also act as good platform, especially for marketing and promotional activities with its vast network, they help to connect and collaborate in exchange of information. Such sites are also used in the sphere of learning where the learned impart their knowledge and thereby serve the community. There are of course, online chats for customer service provided by any merchant put up a shop online or service provider offering services. As technology advances, newer ways to connect are created strengthening communication. There is always a downside to anything creative or innovative but the evaluation will always be based on the pros and cons.
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